Divers just found the world’s largest underwater cave. And as if that discovery was not exciting enough, in that cave, were Mayan secrets hidden away for years.
After 10 months of intensive exploration, scientists in Mexico have discovered the world’s largest flooded cave system and it’s truly an underwater wonderland. According to Science Alert, spanning an incredible 347 kilometers (216 miles) of subterranean caverns, this branching, sunken labyrinth isn’t just a natural spectacle. It’s also an important archaeological find that could help unlock the lost secrets of the ancient Maya civilization.
“This immense cave represents the most important submerged archaeological site in the world,” says underwater archaeologist Guillermo de Anda from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History. “It has more than a hundred archaeological contexts, among which are evidence of the first settlers of America, as well as extinct fauna and, of course, the Maya culture.”
De Anda heads up the Great Maya Aquifer Project (GAM), a research effort which for decades has explored underwater caves in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, located on the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatán Peninsula. The region hosts a stunning 358 submerged cave systems, representing some 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) of flooded freshwater tunnels hidden under the surface.
As footage in the researchers’ video and photos show – untold volumes of preserved Maya artifacts and human remains are just waiting to be discovered and analyzed from within this unprecedented cave system.
Ultimately, the scientific implications could be just as massive as the cave itself.
“We’ve recorded more than 100 archaeological elements: the remains of extinct fauna, early humans, Maya archaeology, ceramics, and Maya graves,” de Anda told the Mexican media. “It’s a tunnel of time that transports you to a place 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.”
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